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Joined on September 13, 2010

Last Post on April 17, 2014

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Cutting oil in pipes:

@ April 26, 2011 8:27 PM in Gas piping

Maybe I'm not telling you anything, but I have a way of keeping the oil out of the pipes when I am threading it.
I put a couple od 2X4's on the flat, under the back legs of my power drive. With the drive pitched forward, it keeps the oil at the end of the pipe. And if you always ream the pipe, the oil doesn't get caught up behind the ridge. It just runs out into the oil bucket.

Cold start oil fired WH's:

@ April 26, 2011 8:16 PM in Cold start an oil fired water heater??

I can not impress enough on you what a bad idea this is.
Back in the mid '90's, when this craze of using water heaters to heat houses and get domestic hot water came around again, Bock Oil Fired water Heaters became a favorite of some in New England. There was a guy in New Hampshire who put in a lot of them. They all failed within two years. Bock wouldn't cover the warranty because that is not what they are approved for. This one person in New Hampshire (who I don't know and don't know his name) moved to where I work in Massachusetts. He sold a lot of jobs to the hot shots with the same plan, Bock oil fired water heaters for heat and water. He had the same results. The water heaters just couldn't take than cold water flowing in from a system like that.
My wife and I went to a farm in Warner, NH and when the owner found out where we were from, and I worked, he asked me if I knew ths guy who had installed this system in his house, went through three Bock water heaters and wouldn't return his calls. Then, the owner had to re-do his whole system. I don't know anything about the installer. Just his problems.
I have had experience with this bad idea. It goes back to before you probably knew what heating pipes were. Like very early, 1960's. It was sold as a way to heat a cottage in the spring and fall. The first thing one noticed after a few years was yellow hot water when the tank was breaking down.
Water heaters heat domestic hot water,
Boilers heat heating water.

Riello Strainer Gasket:

@ April 24, 2011 8:45 PM in Riello 40 F3 strainer housing gasket

Truly sorry for the mix up.

Forgive me for replying:

@ April 24, 2011 5:39 PM in Riello 40 F3 strainer housing gasket

You came here and asked how to turn down your pump pressure on your fuel pump for some reason, known only to your self. No amount of contrary suggestions would seem to sway you from your mission.
It's your right to do whatever you wish, with whomever you wish and whenever. Provided you have their permission if it becomes dangerous.
My comments to you about Firedragon were for your own information and protection. His discussion group is by invitation only and is for professionals. They are not as tolerant over there as we are here for foolishness. There are a few members of the Firedragon's group here. I haven't seen them chime in with encouragement for you.
In an age where conventional wisdom on oil equipment is to raise the pump pressure to achieve better atomization and to down size nozzles to protect from over firing, you come along and want an explanation on how to downsize your burner by lowering the pump pressure.
Knock Thine self Out.

Taco Control Boxes:

@ April 24, 2011 4:48 PM in taco zone control boxes?

A Taco SR 504 will control 4 circulators used for zoning and NO zone valves.
A ZVC 406 will control 6 zone valves and one circulator unless you have more circulators in which case, you need to use a SR501 relay.
In other words, SR's are switching relays to run things that are controlled by low voltage thermostats and ZVC (Zone Valve Controller) will control multiple zone valves and power them. It will act as a start a relay for a pump.
Does that help?
If you are trying to only run zone valves, you probably need the different controller.
If you have multiple zone valves that run off of one circulator, and you have an indirect with a separate circulator, you will need a SR501 to run that.

Water Loop:

@ April 24, 2011 4:36 PM in hot water loop on IN-5 piped backwards


Gauges & Books:

@ April 24, 2011 10:45 AM in pre-filter on the oil supply line?

If the needle stays in the green, and doesn't flutter or move when the pump is running, there is no restriction. Obvious to some. If the needle moves up from vacuum, it shows restriction of some sort. Called, "Static Suction" or "Pumping Suction". Static Suction" is when at rest. Pumping Suction is when the pump is pumping. The difference is the restriction.
Buy Firedragon's books. Don't take a class. I fear that you would be too disruptive with questions and arguments of yours. Firedragon isn't noted for his patience. That's why his site is for professionals. And they get kicked off for asking stupid questions. Your skin may be thick enough. Mine isn't.

Riello Handbook:

@ April 24, 2011 10:33 AM in Riello 40 F3 strainer housing gasket

Order this book.
Firedragon needs the money. He also does courses.
Be careful and don't act there like you have here. Firedragon has a flaming tongue. Harmless though.

007 Circulators:

@ April 24, 2011 10:27 AM in hot water loop on IN-5 piped backwards

I don't understand why you can't turn the circulator body around and the motor Assembly being in the same place. Or, using opposite flanges from  standard flanges.
You should be able to remove the 4 5/16 bolts, remove the body and flip it around, and reconnect the motor assembly.

Vacuum Gauges:

@ April 23, 2011 7:00 PM in pre-filter on the oil supply line?

GerBer has used gauges with just numbers. They confuse many. The colors and where they fit are the same. Look at this in a vague way, 1" PSIG vacuum equals 1' of lift.  If you have a squeaky clean filter system, and you show no vacuum pressure before the burner starts, and when it starts, it is the same as the tank being 2' below the burner. But, if you have a tank that is 60" off the floor, and the burner is 1' off the floor, you have 5' of head pressure. A positive pressure on the pump. If the filters are dirty and it shows shows 10" on the gauge, it is as if the tank level is now 15' below the tank. Or somewhere near there.
Someone else here could read all the Suntec manuals and pump diagrams they could find. And still not understand these principles. No one was ever able to explain them to me. I had to figure it out on my own when my old boss used to send me out on screwed up jet pump calls that he and no one else could figure out. I was forced into the understanding.

Filter Restriction:

@ April 23, 2011 10:25 AM in pre-filter on the oil supply line?

Your "Tech" is clueless.
If the restriction gauge you are looking at is the one that comes with the Gar-Ber Filter, when both filters are new, the needle will be in the green range and not move from where it is when the burner/pump is off. If the needle is in the yellow or red, the filter is dirty. Get that? THE FILTER IS DIRTY!!!!! If the gauge is on the filter colsest to the burner and it shows high vacuum and you change THAT filter, ind the vacuum goes up when you run the pump, THE FIRST FILTER IS DIRTY!!!
You ALWAYS change BOTH filters.

The tech is a part changer who doesn't understand what he is doing.
This is Oil Burner 101.
Tell the company that sent him to go over to Firedragon for a spanking. George teaches a lot of classes on Oil Burners and considers himself an expert on Riello Burners.

Gas Boiler Choices:

@ April 19, 2011 5:51 PM in Gas boiler choice

After reading Chris's (HVHEHCCA) analysis of your load and what you are trying to do, I wouldn't consider anything else but a Mod/Con boiler and indirect. Last month, I installed my first Veissmann Vitodens 100 and I am in the process of installing another one. If you are already direct vented, I do not see why you wouldn't use a Mod/Con. Installing these units has been the most fun I have had in years. The performance of the one finished is absolutely stunning. These units have been around long enough to have had all the bugs worked out of them. If an installer reads and carefully studies the installation and service manuals, and follows the manufacturers requirements, you will not go wrong.
If you go to pick ANYONE to install a system, the first thing I would ask them is "Do you own a digital combustion analyzer?" If they don't, don't hire them. There is no way on this earth that anyone can set these appliances without one.
Go Mod/Con. You won't be sorry.

Nice "By Code" Install:

@ April 19, 2011 12:52 PM in Numbnut

And you don't need no stinkin' codes or licenses?
That's why in Massachusetts, Plumbers, Gas Fitters, and LP Gas Installers all must have annual CEU or they can't keep their licenses and inspectors have monthly CE. Gas Fitters get 3 hours, Plumbers (who are gas fitters also) get 6 hours. If you don't do your CE, you will loose your license and to get it back, 5 years as an apprentice and 500 hours of related school.
Obviously, that wasn't done by anyone remotely aware of what they had done.

Expansion Joints:

@ April 18, 2011 8:52 PM in Boiler Line Fittings keep Breaking

I'm not an educated or trained engineer. I have only my experience to fall upon. What I say is from my experience and seeing what you are seeing with this install.
If the piping was "in the air" and supported by hangers and the pipe could go anywhere it could go, your idea might work. In fact, it should work. What you don't see or understand are the forces at play in this installation. I mentioned earlier about tension and compression. Where these two forces come into play is while buried in the sand, as the pipe is heated, it expands. Although it is moving "away", it is actually moving away in "compression". The compressive forces will push the sand away with incredible force. Forces great enough to buckle the tube if it didn't find a place to get rid of the compressive forces. While in this expanded, compressive state, sand will fall into the space that was occupied by the space while it was in flux, not moving. When the tube is then cooled, it contracts in tension. But because the sand has fallen into the void created by the previous expansion, it goes into incredible tension. Where you have those 90 degree offsets, the pressure builds to where it finally splits the fitting on the inside of the elbow. If the tube and fittings weren't silver brazed with high temperature braze rod and been done with low temperature solder, it probably would pull out of the fitting. I saw this exact same thing happen on something I was sent to fix.
Like I said, I am not an engineer. But I see things that perhaps others don't always see. If "I" were to try to solve the problem, I would NOT attempt to install those "U-Leg Expansion Joints" because that is where the failures I saw in my experience, occurred
I would instead, leave the pipes as they are, in a straight line. I would use, every 100' or less, the flexible joints you are proposing. If they are used in a straight line, the stress forces will find their way and expand and contract where they choose to. Not where you think they might want to. Someone makes expansion joints that can be used in your application. I see them as being used in a straight line. If you haven't seen buried copper pipes pull apart that were underground, and didn't figure it out, you would have no idea that it could occur.
Thrust blocks on the corners MAY be OK to force the expansion and contraction to go where you want it. But I can not prove that theory. It's just my gut feeling. I would also put expansion expansion joints in the short runs between the boiler runs and where it turns up the driveway.
Others may have better ideas than mine. That's just how I see it.

Filter connections:

@ April 18, 2011 11:48 AM in pre-filter on the oil supply line?

And is that General filter actually connected with two flexible oil connectors and just sitting on top of the HW storage tank?
What state do you live in? Was it inspected? Is there a firomatic safety oil valve?
There's never enough time to do it right. But there's always time to do it over. You need to get someone else to do it over. Correctly.
The kind of crap that gives oil a bad name.


@ April 18, 2011 11:38 AM in pre-filter on the oil supply line?

There are some things that may be out of the scope of our abilities. If you or someone connected that oil supply like that, you need to get a really competent professional and have them do the install.
I could never do anything that remotely resembled what you have for fear that someone might post a picture of it for all the world so see and I would be embarrassed.
You need to hire a competent professional with the proper tools to do this job.
An d didn't I say that not all 10 micron filters are created equal?

Oil Crud:

@ April 17, 2011 5:02 PM in pre-filter on the oil supply line?

The crud is in the oil in suspension. Drain some out of your tank and put it in a big glass jar. Let it sit quietly for a day or so. Look carefully in the bottom. See the black sediment? It may be finer.
The tech pulled off the canister in the General and it looked like icing on a cupcake? I've seen it where I had to use a pair of pliers to get the filter out of the canister. Then I had to clean out the canister. If you see that amount of sludge in less than a year, you have a major sludge problem. Easily cleaned with proper filtration or ULS (Ultra Low Sulphur) oil. Which has less BTU's per gallon so it costs more. Filters are cheap.
I've got to figure out how to post pictures. I have some beauts.

Installing Condensing Combi Boiler:

@ April 17, 2011 4:48 PM in How to Install a Condensing Combi Boiler

All that worrying I did about getting it right and this is all there is to it? What did I do wrong on my first install replacing a Heatmaker ll in a crawl space. It took me forever replacing the Ultra vent, moving the boiler to a new location, moving and installing a new indirect and connecting the old air handler. I must have missed how easy it is,
Should I cancel my slot at the Veissmann school next week on installs and servicing Vitodens 100's? I don't want to look stupid. How could I have missed it being so easy.


@ April 17, 2011 2:03 PM in pre-filter on the oil supply line?

No, as good as it gets is two Garber spin-ons.
If I could figure out how to post photos here, I would show you.

Micron filters:

@ April 17, 2011 2:00 PM in pre-filter on the oil supply line?

Generals and Fulflo elements may be rated at 10 microns. They must be. The manufacturers of the elements say so. In practice and my observations, Fulflo's and Generals will plug up a nozzle strainer and leave sludge deposits on a pump strainer. I have not seen the same with Spin-On Garbers. Though I did once with a Westwood that came on a Tigerloop Ultra.
The strainer I am speaking about is the one that is screwed into the nozzle assembly that protects the nozzle from foreign bodies. It is NOT the one in the fuel pump.
Riello burners tend to be noisy in my opinion.
Commercial diesel marine craft, pleasure and commercial users usually use Racor filter packs with 2 micron filters. The same is true with diesel electric generators.
What you fail to understand is that even if the filter is clogged or clogging, an amount of oil will get to the pump. It takes very little oil to the nozzle at 160# in a .50 GPH nozzle to make the nozzle work properly. But if the nozzle strainer restricts the flow of oil to the orifice, and the pressure goes down between the outside and inside of the strainer, you now have a change in air/fuel ratio into the boiler.
What I am saying is that with two very good filters, when the first stops 99% of the crud in a year, the other 1% is going to the next filter. And so on, and so forth. The first filter will be giving you high vacuum readings and you will change both filters. You will notice that when first drained, the first filter will be much heavier than the second.
In MY opinion, a burner will fire properly as long as the required amount of oil gets into the pump and gets to the nozzle orifice. No matter what. If the nozzle strainer is clogging, the first thing to go is pressure at the orifice. The pump pressure to the nozzle is immaterial. It is the pressure AFTER the strainer that makes the rubber meet the road. Or the correct oil spray meet the air and spark.

Not only that but,

@ April 17, 2011 9:41 AM in My heat is off

Not only that but, if something happens in the street like Dig-Safe mis-marks a gas line (never happens), and an excavator rips up a gas line( never happens often), the gas company will shut off that section of the main. Before turning it back on, they are required to shut off EVERY building service connected to that main before turning the gas main back on and physically enter every build ing to light pilots or whatever, at their expense. If something happens and they didn't follow this procedure, it's their (and their insurance company's) dime.


@ April 17, 2011 9:29 AM in Dual 3/4" inreturn purge and drain to 1"

There was a time in the past where I used those purge valves you want to use. I found that they let water from other zones leak by and they didn't shut off positively.
I always install a ball valve on the return at the boiler and a boiler drain above it. I put ball valves on the return so I can close either one. Competitive copper ball valves are cheap and if you use a 1"X1"X1/2" copper tee and a 1/2" copper fitting (street) X FPT adapter, you will save considerably, over a cast bronze adapter tee.
But I need to ask, what is wrong with the fitting there? Do the blocking ports still work? Why do you deed to purge the system? Do you do it often?
I can think of systems that I installed and have been in operation for over 30 years and have never been drained or purged. I fill and purge once and be done with it.